NRC identifies issues for Davis-Besse license extension

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff has issued its Safety Evaluation Report (SER) with Open Items for the proposed renewal of the operating license for the Davis-Besse plant in Oak Harbor, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie.

FirstEnergy Nuclear Operation Co. (FENOC), a unit of FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE), submitted an application to the NRC in August 2010 to extend the Davis-Besse license by 20 years, the commission noted in an Aug. 1 statement. The current 40-year operating license is due to expire on April 22, 2017.

The SER documents the results of the NRC staff’s review of the license renewal application and site audit of Davis-Besse’s aging-management programs to address the safety of plant operations during the period of extended operation. Overall, the commission said the results show that FENOC has identified actions that have been or will be taken to manage the effects of aging in the appropriate systems, structures and components of the plant, and that their functions will be maintained during the period of extended operation.

The SER contains four open items:

  • management of shield building cracks during the period of extended operation;
  • operating experience review prior to entering the period of extended operation;
  • time-limited aging analyses of reactor vessel neutron embrittlement; and
  • pressure-temperature limits.

After FENOC provides satisfactory information to resolve the four open items, NRC staff will present its final conclusions on the license renewal application in an update to this SER. The staff expects to issue that update in October.

The SER and the license renewal application have also been provided to the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS), an independent body of experts that advises the NRC on reactor safety matters. An ACRS subcommittee is expected to discuss the SER with open items during a meeting on Sept. 19. The meeting will take place at NRC headquarters in Rockville, Md. The full ACRS will later issue a report discussing the results of its review.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.